TFN Australia's role in a national emergency
As TFN UK’s Australian CEO, it was a great pleasure to welcome TFN Australia’s Irish CEO to “TFN Towers” last week. Julie McDonald, who has been at the helm of our sister ship since February 2018, took time out from her family holiday to spend two days working with the TFN UK team. It was a fantastic opportunity to share our experiences, brainstorm new ideas and of course, to learn from one another.
Julie’s visit took place at the height of the Australian bushfires and so we spent time talking about what TFN’s response in Australia or indeed anywhere should be to a major national disaster. We agreed that TFN’s role isn’t at the “front line” – there are plenty of big names generously stepping forward to provide emergency funds.
Rather, TFN will be needed in the mid to longer term, when the consequences of such a crisis – for example a rise in mental illness due to job losses, businesses collapsing (it’s feared the tourism sector will suffer) and anxiety at the prospect of it happening again - start to bite, that TFN and the projects it supports will be best placed to step in.
There is also the immediate challenge for our Australian colleagues with their first event for the year scheduled for March 5. Three excellent projects were selected long before the fires hit their peak and their beneficiaries’ needs are no less pressing now than they were then. Will the fact that many people have already dug deep affect giving at the event? And in the year ahead? Julie’s solution: to announce that TFN will donate its levy (the 7.5% deducted from amounts pledged as a contribution to costs) to bush fire relief and to ask the event’s two corporate partners to match it. In this way, people can come to the event, support the projects and support the bush fire relief fund.
Since it launched with Lisa Cotton as CEO in 2014, TFN Australia has facilitated an astonishing $10.5m (£5.5m) for around 300 grassroots charities and social enterprises working to address homelessness, domestic violence, migrants and refugees, disability, indigenous rights, women and children, and mental health. They estimate a further $3.3m of in kind support has been generated. TFN Australia is playing an important role in the burgeoning Australian philanthropic sector and we could not be prouder!
Julie pictured left with Sally and Hodan (centre)
Eugenie Harvey, TFN Chief Executive